In God’s first attempt at planting a new church, He did it in a unique fashion.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:2-4)
The gifts of the Holy Spirit fell on all the people, not just the apostles or prophets or evangelists or pastors and teachers. Everyone was empowered by the Spirit and His spiritual gifts.
Four or five years later, Philip was preaching in Samaria when a revival broke out with many people being saved. Peter and John traveled to Samaria to help Philip. The first thing the two apostles did was check the new believers to see if the Holy Spirit had fallen on them.
For as yet the Holy Spirit had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:16-17)
Almost twenty years later, the Apostle Paul had already planted many churches, including the Corinthian Church, when he met some new disciples in Ephesus. What was the first thing Paul checked with these new believers?
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19:2)
When Paul heard these new disciples had not been baptized in the Holy Spirit, but only into the water baptism of John the Baptist, he wasted no time.
And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)
The evidence seems to prove that the apostles made sure that all of their new church plants followed the same pattern God used when He planted the first church in Jerusalem. They laid hands on the new believers and asked the Holy Spirit to fall on them so that the spiritual gifts were poured out on the new believers
Why was this important? And is it important for us today?
(Continued in Part 12…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)